Are you looking for more books like House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski?
House of Leaves is one of the most peculiar books out there. Its unusual formatting and its intriguing story keep you turning page after page.
If you want to read more books with unique or special structures, these fourteen books below will give you the experience of something unlike anything else you’ve read before.
Books Like House of Leaves
The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall
I’d recommend The Raw Shark Texts to anyone who enjoyed reading House of Leaves. While the stories and styles are not exactly alike, both have that same surrealist feel.
Eric Sanderson wakes up one day with no memory of who he is.
Dr. Randle, a psychologist, informs him that he has severe dissociative amnesia and has been in his care for two years since a tragic death.
Eric begins to read letters and papers that belonged to “the first Eric Sanderson,” which may shed light on his condition or be another person altogether.
S. by Doug Dorst and JJ Abrams
I really liked the concept of S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst because you will find yourselves drawn into the story.
Not only are there notes in the book’s margins, but there are also postcards, handwritten letters, maps, and photocopied articles inserted between its pages.
A young woman finds a book left behind by a stranger. She starts reading it, and discovers that the person who left it has been writing in the margins.
They begin talking by leaving messages back and forth, and they get to know each other better through their writings.
That book is “Ship of Theseus”, and its author is V. M. Straka, about whom very little is known except for his writing and the rumors surrounding him.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
House of Leaves and Infinite Jest are similar in that they both use footnotes, but the similarities end there.
Both books rely on their use of footnotes to move their stories along. However, you can theoretically read Infinite Jest without ever flipping back to the footnotes, and the story still holds up just fine.
It’s about 100 pages of footnotes, and sometimes I feel like even those need footnotes.
He shows us how our desire to be entertained affects our need to connect with others, and he demonstrates how what we choose to enjoy reflects who we are as individuals.
Infinite Jest is a novel that explores the passions that make us human while remaining incredibly entertaining.
Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco
Foucault’s Pendulum has much of the same appeal as House of Leaves. As a reader, you will have to make some effort to read this book.
However, the book is still an exciting and entertaining read!
Three clever editors decided to have a little fun with an equally clever computer.
They were inspired by an extraordinary fable they had heard years before from a suspiciously natty colonel, who claimed to know of a mystic source of power greater than atomic energy.
On a lark, the editors began randomly feeding esoteric bits of knowledge into the computer.
What started out as a lazy game became something more when the game took on lives of its own.
The Cipher by Kathe Koja
The Chipper is fairly different from House of Leaves in subject matter, but the two books share some similarities: they both present bizarre and surreal imagery.
This book will be one of the most unusual things you have ever read, but I recommend it to anyone looking for something strange and different.
Nicholas is an aspiring poet and video store clerk with a weeping hole in his hand. The hole does not weep blood but instead a plasma of tears.
It began with Nakota, who had to see the dark hole in the storage room down the hall.
Now, the black hole calls out to Nicholas every day and night from down the hall. And he will go to it because it has already seared his flesh, infected his soul, and started him on a journey of obsession — through its soothing blank darkness into blinding terror.
Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar
Julio Cortazar’s Hopscotch is an early and excellent example of ergodic literature, which has alternating chapters that can be inserted into the main narrative.
The writer Horacio Oliveira lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga.
Surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves “the Club,” these Argentinians live an idle life of empty pleasures and intellectual acrobatics.
But when a child dies and La Maga disappears, Oliveira returns to Buenos Aires — where he works as a salesman, a keeper of a circus cat that can truly count, and an attendant in an insane asylum.
Hopscotch is the dazzling tale of Oliveira’s extraordinary adventures.
Dictionary of the Khazars by Milorad Pavac
If you enjoyed House of Leaves, you might like Milorad Pavac’s Dictionary of the Khazars, a novel that recreates the history of the Khazars through dictionary entries.
Dictionary of the Khazars is the imaginary book of knowledge of the Khazars, a people who flourished somewhere beyond Transylvania between the seventh and ninth centuries.
This lexicon novel combines entries from dictionaries of the world’s major religions with entries that leap between past and future, featuring three unruly wise men, a sect of priests who can infiltrate one’s dreams, and many more unusual entries.
Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
Pale Fire is a novel that uses footnotes as its primary narrative device, and the story itself is really clever and hilarious.
John Shade is dead, but he left behind one final poem.
Entitled ‘Pale Fire’, the poem is accompanied by a preface, commentary, and notes from Charles Kinbote — Shade’s editor.
Charles Kinbote is haughty, inquisitive, intolerant…but is he also mad, bad — and even dangerous?
As his notes move from merely eccentric become increasingly personal, he perhaps reveals more than he should be.
The Book of All Hours by Hal Duncan
Hal Duncan’s The Book of All Hours follows the adventures of reincarnated souls through the myths of our world.
It is a great read that uses innovative storytelling techniques.
Angels and demons walk the earth in the form of unkin, transformed by the ancient machine-code language of reality.
These entities seek The Book of All Hours, which holds the blueprint for all reality but has been lost somewhere in the Vellum — a vast realm of eternity upon which our world is a mere scratch.
The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Like House of Leaves, The Illuminae Files uses a unique page layout and narrative structure to create a unique story.
It’s a pretty good and entertaining book, with its structure being the most interesting part.
Kady and Ezra are on the run. They used to be in love, but their relationship ended badly. Now they barely even speak to each other.
But it doesn’t matter — they have much bigger problems than their broken relationship. A rival corporation has invaded their planet, and now they are trying to escape with a hostile warship in pursuit.
No one in charge will tell them what is truly going on, so Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth for herself — with the help of her ex-boyfriend, whom she swore she’d never speak to again.
The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia
In The People of Paper, Salvador Plascencia uses a special formatting technique to emphasize the novel’s themes.
While it falls more into magical realism than fantasy, structurally, it is unique, like House of Leaves.
Plascencia’s novel, The People of Paper, explores the difficulties of writing a novel and maintaining a relationship. The protagonist, Salvador Plascencia, must balance his relationship with a girlfriend and his efforts to write a novel.
The book follows two separate storylines, one following Plascencia as he struggles to complete his novel and the other following the fictional characters in his novel as they live out their lives.
Eventually, both storylines collide as Plascencia’s real-life problems are revealed to be connected to his characters’ lives.
Unlanguage by Michael Cisco
Unlanguage by Michael Cisco is an inventive story structured as a grammar textbook. It’s unlike any other conventional novel.
The author divides the book into units instead of chapters. Each unit is devoted to one aspect of unlanguage, such as parables, orthography, and negative voice. There are also questions, exercises, and notes.
Unlanguage is the story of a man transformed by death, language change, and learning.
One day, a man looks down at his hand resting on his thigh and sees what had been composed of colored light made solid goes back to being meat and blood.
His body reverts to the ordinary sloshing heaviness of a regular body.
The exalted vision of his eyes becomes the filmy, blurred vision of the usual kind. He slumps back into his former self.
Whirlwinds of shame close on him. With monkey-like energy, he wracks his brains for a way back.
Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton
In his novel Eaters of the Dead, Michael Crichton merely took a man named Ahmad ibn Fadlan who was a real historical figure, changed his story, and made him visit other parts of the world and have adventures there in this book.
Eaters of the Dead is one of the books like House of Leaves that has footnotes that are supposed to be the fictional translator’s notes, giving readers more authenticity to the story.
In 922 A.D., Arab courtier Ibn Fadlan accompanies a group of Viking warriors on their journey back to their home.
But as the party travels north, where the day is longer than the night, and after sunset, the sky burns with streaks of color, Fadlan soon discovers that he has been unwillingly enlisted in combatting the horrors in the mist that devour human flesh.
War with the Newts by Karel Capek
War with the Newts is told through various narratives, including regular prose, news articles, scientific reports, interviews, etc. The book is playful, inventive, and fun to read.
War with the Newts tells the story of a scientist who discovers a species of giant intelligent newts and uses them in his experiments.
In the process, the newts gain skills and develop a desire to challenge man’s place at the top of the animal kingdom.
Even though there aren’t any truly similar books to what Mark Z. Danielewski has written, all the fourteen books like House of Leaves above can help you feel the experience of reading something utterly original and unique.
I hope you found at least one book on my list that caught your attention.
But if you don’t, you might want to check my other recommendations about books like The House in the Cerulean Sea that will give you a big warm hug.